Jobless rates in Lee County and Charlotte County both hit 8 percent in December to close 2012 with a four-year best measurement.
It was the fifth-straight month of unemployment declines for Lee and Charlotte counties.
Florida's December unemployment rate dipped from 8.1 percent in November to 8 percent compared with a 7.8 percent jobless rate for the United States as a whole.
"As the economy continues to improve, long-term trends in unemployment rates will show declines and long-term trends in jobs will show increases," said Rebecca Rust, Florida chief economist.
Florida's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December was the lowest since November 2008 - and 1.9 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 9.9 percent.
Since Gov. Rick Scott took office, the state unemployment rate has dropped 3.1 percentage points.
Lee10.2 percent8.0 percent
Charlotte9.9 percent8.0 percent
Sarasota9.8 percent7.8 percent
Florida9.9 percent7.9 percent
U.S.8.5 percent7.7 percent
Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
Florida economic scorecard
Florida's unemployment rate has declined year-over-year 25 consecutive months.
Initial claims for Reemployment Assistance are off 4.6 percent from one year ago while continued claims are down 51 percent from an average of 553,000 in December 2010 to 270,181 for the week ending Jan. 12.
Florida job postings in December 2012 increased 8 percent compared with the previous December by 19,380 for a total of 260,281 openings, according to the Help Wanted OnLine data series from the Conference Board.
Florida has 29 consecutive months of positive annual job growth.
Florida's month-to-month job growth has been positive 14 of the last 18 months.
Florida is expected to create more than 900,000 new jobs by 2018, according to the Florida Economic Estimating Conference.
The number of available online job openings in STEM-related (sciences, technology, engineering, and math) fields in Florida have increased 16.5 percent since last year for a total of 61,271 postings in December 2012.
"Trends show that we are also experiencing growth in many different economic indicators that are key to job creation," Scott said in his monthly press release on unemployment. "Housing starts are on the rise, businesses and families continue to move to Florida and more jobs are being created. The changes we are making to improve our state's business climate are helping Florida families pursue the American dream."
Employment prospects improved dramatically in 2012. Lee County's December jobless rate is 2.2 percentage points under the 10.2 percent posted in December 2011 and Charlotte County unemployment dropped 1.9 percentage points during the same time.
Florida's unemployment rate declined 0.6 percentage point in the second half of 2012 with more than 53,000 jobs created.
The state unemployment rate has dropped 3.1 percentage points since December 2010, the second-largest drop in the nation. Over the same time, all 67 Florida counties had declining unemployment rates and the state created 188,400 private sector jobs.